Sept 2 (Reuters) – A fire aboard a boat off the coast of Southern California on Monday left several people dead, according to a local television news report, but the U.S. Coast Guard could not confirm any fatalities, saying five people were rescued of 34 on board.
“We cannot speak to whether there were fatalities,” Coast Guard Petty Officer Aiden Cooney said by phone.
“The situation is still ongoing,” Cooney said, adding that he had no information on the 29 people who had not yet been rescued. “The last information we have is that they’re still on board.”
The five persons rescued, one of whom had minor injuries, were crew members of the 75-foot (23-meter) vessel, which had caught fire near Santa Cruz Island, the Coast Guard said.
#CoastInc: @VCFD responded to boat fire off the north side of Santa Cruz Island at approximately 3:28am. @USCG helping support rescue operations for people aboard a dive boat. #ChannelIslands @USCGLosAngeles @CountyVentura @SBCOUNTYFIRE pic.twitter.com/DwoPGfBjtA
— VCFD PIO (@VCFD_PIO) September 2, 2019
KTLA television in Los Angles reported that the Ventura County Fire Department had said the fire left multiple people dead.
The Ventura County Fire Department was not immediately available, but its public information officer who had been posting messages about the incident on Twitter had made no mention of fatalities on Monday morning.
An image posted by the fire department shows the vessel engulfed in flames.
The Coast Guard said it was continuing its rescue efforts. (Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by David Gregorio)
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